Hasbro's M.A.S.K. franchise will be hitting the big screen under the direction of F. Gary Gray for Paramount, according to the studio. The franchise has been teased for a while now, but this is the first official news that has been announced about the development of the project. Gray is coming off the $1.2 billion worldwide gross for The Fate of the Furious and Straight Outta Compton, and is excited to work on the "vintage" property and bring it to a new audience.
M.A.S.K., which stands for Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, was a successful cartoon and toy franchise in the mid 1980s. Kenner put out the toys that were pretty close to the Transformers, except that the vehicles were controlled by humans who wore masks. The M.A.S.K. team fought against V.E.N.O.M. (Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem) on the show, which heavily dealt with crime fighting and terrorism. The third and fourth sets of toys started to get into racing and saw the popularity of the show and action figures decline.
F. Gary Gray gravitated towards M.A.S.K. because it is a vintage property that could be revamped and have something to say to a contemporary audience, according to a new report. The project is currently seeking a screenwriter to bring the animated series to the big screen in a live-action format. The project will be produced by Gray and Hasbro who are looking for a writer that can "hatch a contemporary subculture movie with a youth empowerment angle." The idea sounds lofty, but if handled correctly, M.A.S.K. could turn into a very popular franchise for Paramount.
Back in 2015, it was announced that Hasbro and Paramount were teaming up to create a shared cinematic universe combining M.A.S.K. with G.I. Joe, Micronauts, Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light, and Rom. Michael Chabon, Cheo Hodari Coker, John Francis Daley, and Jonathan Goldstein were hired to write the stories for the respective franchises, with Akiva Goldsman overseeing the project. For reasons that aren't clear, it was announced in January of this year that the massive project had been canceled, leaving many fans disappointed. However, the news of a standalone M.A.S.K. movie is what a lot of fans have been waiting for, so this is definitely good news.
F. Gary Gray seems to be the perfect choice to direct a live-action adaptation of M.A.S.K., so it will be very interesting to see how everything moves along after this latest announcement. Hasbro is undoubtedly banking on reviving the action figure line as well, which also has the potential to blow up as well. Hopefully, the studio will avoid the mistakes of the Transformers franchise when rebooting the popular 80s cartoon for a new generation. The original report about F. Gary Gray teaming up with Hasbro and signing on to direct the M.A.S.K. was first reported by Deadline.